Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Big Decision: VBAC Or C-Section?

Baby Boy is due at the end of May and since we found out we were expecting again, the main issue that has been on mine and my husband's minds is the labour. After a gruelling (and may I add knackering) 40 hour labour with Holly resulting in an emergency c-section, I wanted to avoid all chances of this happening again. I wish it was that easy!

Shattered but happy my baby was here



Needless to say, after going through all that and a painful, long recovery, I was adamant that next time I would opt straight for the section. However they say every birth is different, so after to speaking to the consultant at the hospital I became more open to considering a VBAC. They gave me all the facts and I was pleasantly surprised that the option of VBAC wasn't thrust down my throat, it meant I wasn't stubbornly leaning towards a section just because I felt pressured not to.

So comes a long, tough decision of which way to go. If I choose an elective section there is a higher risk of infection, increased blood loss and the baby having breathing problems. My main concern, though, was my recovery. My friends who have had normal deliveries have been up and about almost straight away, showering and looking after the baby. However after my section it was all I could do to turn over in bed, let alone change nappies and do feeds. Not to mention the fact that I developed a UTI which set my recovery back considerably. Do I really want to put myself through all that again?


Birth Choice UK can help you choose what's right for you
However, speaking to friends and researching online I have learnt that those who chose to have a planned section, rather than it being an emergency seem to have had a much faster and easier recovery. Obviously with it being major surgery they weren't jumping out of bed straight away, but compared to my two weeks later and still shuffling down the hallway there seemed to be an improvement. Added to that is the thought that do I really want to put myself through all that again, if I only end up in the same situation all over again? If only there was a crystal ball that could tell me how this labour will go!

There is also the added bonus of knowing a date in advance and being able to plan. I know this is not a meadical reason to have the section, but it helps us out, especially considering we have Holly to think about. However there is something to be said for the ability to have a natural delivery and holding your baby knowing you did the work. A lot of people who have had c sections have said they felt cheated out of that experience or that they didn't feel like they had done enough for their baby. Although I never felt this way, I can totally understand anyone who does. I was not awake when Holly was born, due to passing out after having enough drugs pumped through me to knock out an elephant, and she was taken to recovery to cleaned up before I saw her. I really hope this time around I get to hold our Baby Boy as soon as he is born as it does make me sad to think I missed out on that with Holly.
Help if you had a traumatic birth

If we choose the VBAC, although there is a risk of scar rupture (which I have to say weighs heavy on my mind), it is 'only' 1 in 200. The general success rate of VBAC is around 80%, however this reduces to 66% if your previous labour failed due to CPD, where the baby's head is too big to fit through your pelvis, which is what happened with Holly (stats from Netmums and Caesarean Information).

With all this to consider, John and I are still unsure which way we will go. One day I am leaning towards the VBAC, another I think I will have the section. We have a few months to go to make our final decision, however I would like to have it sorted in my mind before then to give me time to prepare myself. It would be interesting to hear your thoughts or stories on this topic, so please let me know what you think.

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